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Friday, October 22, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 44

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Commission begins work on women's issues

By Miriam A. Garcia
Daily Cougar Staff

Members of the University's Presidential Committee on the Status of Women will work during the next few weeks to begin identifying specific women's issues on campus.

The commission's first mission is to talk to campus women's groups, identify three issues it would like to address and make recommendations regarding those issues, Chairwoman Ileana Treviño said.

"We are at the very early stages of trying to figure out how we are going to target the issues," said Treviño, executive director of the UH Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity.

President Arthur K. Smith named Treviño governing chairwoman of the commission when he organized the group earlier this semester, and at its first meeting earlier this week, members elected her permanent chairwoman.

At the meeting, Smith told the group no limitations exist regarding what issues it may address.

"He's giving the group free reign to look at issues concerning women," Treviño said.

Those issues are expected to eventually include safety, compensation, the Women's Resource Center, promotions and tenure, she said, but the first meeting was mainly a discussion on how to research the issues and how they will be addressed.

The charge to begin by identifying three areas of concern will allow the commission to determine what Treviño called the "temperature" on women's issues across the University.

The commission also decided to expand its membership at its first meeting.

"The group wanted to add men and some nonexempt employees," Treviño said.

In addition to those yet-to-be-named members, the group is composed of faculty, staff, three undergraduate students and two graduate students.

Treviño said the commission's members seemed enthusiastic and were looking forward to tackling specific issues.

"This commission is not window dressing," Treviño said. "We believe that the recommendations we will make will be acted upon and looked at sincerely by the chancellor."

The commission is scheduled to serve through Aug. 31, 2001, but Treviño said the timeline may be extended if necessary. When the term has expired, the commission will issue a report on its findings.

According to Smith's directions for the commission, the group will also be able to make recommendations regarding the direction and constitution of the standing Committee on the Status of Women, which meets regularly to discuss campus women's issues.
 

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